Horizontal Lines presents Twin Within, a dream-pop album with fantastic vocal harmonies over acoustic guitars. However, what makes this album go and a thoroughly enjoyable listen is the wonderful dissonance these guys create in just the right places. Not dissonance in the harmonic sense, but dissonance in the logical sense. A chord progression here, stylistic twist there, then an unexpected song choice in a way that should bring listeners back over and over again.
YerYard ‘78 opens things in up with the expectation of a dreamy pop album. So far so good and nothing too surprising. Good harmonies, interesting instrumentation. Not sure what the 78 reference is, but this could easily be the A side of a 1960’s jukebox single. Nice pop tune that kicks the album off wonderfully.
Bernie could be a James Taylor hit. From me, that’s a huge compliment. Easy, simple tune sung over nice guitar lines. Does a wonderful job of introducing Horizontal Lines and Twin Within. Tunnel to the Reservoir follow Bernie with much the same styling, but with more soaring chords with just a bit of dissonance thrown in for good measure. Counterpoint towards the end resolved with shimmering pop chords.
As sweet and poppy as Tunnel is, Faraway Car Ride isn’t. It opens with a kind of indie-classical dissonance that resolves into something that sounds like a children’s song. It keeps a kind of indie-classical feel with vocals over an acoustic guitar and bells. It’s the bells and some interesting chord progressions that make the song almost eerie. Eerie in a way that makes me smile.
And now We Talk kicks off with a 80’s pop feel in a thoroughly modern way. Think fun. or Marshal Crenshaw toned down just a bit, but with the same kind of simple drum kit work and simple harmonies.
Night Danger kicks off sounding like it could be the theme from a 60s noir western. That’s not what the song is a about, it’s the feel of it. The rhythm and the high wailing in the background. Then it doesn’t Something that would almost fit on a Retro Cocktail Hour playlist.
Two Within kicks off with vocals that bring Crosby, Stills and Nash to mine. Sort of. Then As Always closes the album coming in completely out of left field. A slow Motown love ballad that just shouldn’t be where it is. But there it is right where it should be. How? It just works. Exceptionally smart musicianship going on here.
I am really digging Horizontal Lines. So many times I make comparisons to other groups and other genres and then immediately want to say ‘sort of’. It’s that ‘sort of’ that makes the album tick. Yes there is plenty of the familiar, but with little twists and pops that make the album sing. This is a great album, well produced, well recorded with wonderful musicianship and catchy tunes. I’m going to buy it and add these guys to my watch list. What more can I say? Nicely done. Very nicely done.